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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Large and in-charge facelift Mercedes-Benz GLS emerges

Three-pointed star's flagship SUV still seats seven, but now comes with revised styling and standard electrification.

One of last models not to have debuted after 2020 as is premiered the previous year at the New York International Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz, on the eve of this year’s showcase in Big Apple, unwrapped the facelift GLS as well as the fire-breathing AMG and ultra-luxurious Maybach models.

The changes

A comparatively minor but still prominent revision, the GLS retains its X167 internal moniker and benefits, aesthetically, from a larger grille complete with four horizonal louvers as opposed to the previous two, a new front bumper with a gloss black finish around the redesigned air vents, new front underguard protection plate and Himalaya Grey 20-inch alloy wheels in a satin sheen finish.

Facelift Mercedes-Benz GLS revealed
New light cluster the only major revision at the rear. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

At the rear, Benz has tweaked the light clusters but kept the rest of the facia unchanged. The same applies to the GLS dimensions, although two new colours have been added to the chart palette, Alpine Grey and Twilight Blue Metallic.

On the AMG GLS 63, the exterior changes from the standard model carry over but are supplemented by the AMG Panamericana grille, wheel sizes ranging between 21 and 23-inches, standard red brake calipers, model-specific new LED taillight clusters and two new colours, Alpine Grey and Sodalite Blue Metallic.

Facelift Mercedes-Benz GLS revealed
Interior continues without change inside. Image: Mercedes-Benz

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Even smaller are the adaptions to the Maybach GLS 600, namely chrome Maybach patterns around the air inlets on the bumper, a slightly tweaked Maybach-specific grille, a Maybach animation projected onto the ground when opening the doors and signature 23-inch forged alloy wheels.

Like the GLS and AMG GLS, the Maybach can be had in Alpine Grey, but leverages off the latter by having access to the Sodalite Blue Metallic hue.

Updated Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 revealed
AMG GLS 63 looks arguably more imposing than before. Image: Mercedes-Benz

New inside

Inside and across all three derivatives, Mercedes-Benz has kept the design and layout of the interior unchanged but embedded its latest software into the MBUX infotainment system.

In addition, the Off-Road Engineering package has been refined with the inclusion of an Off-Road Mode, which ups the available ground clearance by 30 mm and adds a transparent view of the bonnet by way of the standard 360-degree camera system.

Updated Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 revealed
Two new colour options can be had inside; Bahia Brown/black or Macchiato Beige/black. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

More specific to each model is a new gloss brown lime wood or piano lacquer insert option for the GLS, two new colours, including standard Nappa leather on the instrument cluster in the AMG and in the Maybach, diamond pattern quilted seats plus two unique colours.

More AMG spec

Underneath, Stuttgart has kept the GLS and Maybach intact but recalibrated the Active Ride Control and Electronic Stability Programme systems of the AMG, the former as a means of reducing body roll.

Updated Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 revealed
Wheel sizes on the GLS 63 now range from 21 to 23-inches. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

In fact, the AMG GLS 63 is also the sole derivative to receive changes to its specification sheet, as more items have been added as standard. They include:

  • panoramic sunroof;
  • imitation carbon-fibre inserts;
  • latest AMG steering wheel;
  • heated and ventilated AMG front sport seats;
  • AMG Performance exhaust system;
  • Adaptive LED headlights;
  • Burmester sound system

Standard EQ Boost

On the power front, and in line with recent new or updated models, all GLS’ now come standard with the 48-volt mild-hybrid EQ Boost system that ups power by 15kW/200Nm for shorts bursts in the regular and Maybach models.

The standard transmission is the 9G Tronic ‘box, with the AMG 63 being the recipient of the 9G TCT unit. It also receives the AMG-tuned 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system as opposed to the conventional 4Matic setup available on the former pair.

Opulent facelift Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 uncovered
Maybach GLS 600 once again tops the GLS range. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

As for the engines themselves, in the GLS, a pair of turbo-petrols and turbodiesels feature; the 280kW/500Nm 2.9-litre straight-six in the GLS 450, the 380kW/730Nm 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 in the GLS 580 and two versions of the 2.9-litre straight-six oil-burner in the GLS 350d and 450d; 230kW/650Nm and 270kW/750Nm.

Regardless of output, all are limited to 250 km/h with the petrol turbos taking 6.1 and 4.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standstill; and the diesel 6.7 and 6.1 seconds respectively.

Opulent facelift Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 uncovered
Maybach’s polarising mono-block alloy wheels measures 23-inches. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

For Maybach, the latter petrol has been fitted but uprated to produce 410 kW of power and the same 730 Nm of torque.

Top speed is also limited to 250 km/h with 0-100 km/h taking 4.2 seconds, the fastest non-sporting model.

Opulent facelift Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 uncovered
Crystal White/Silver Grey Pearl a new interior colour reserved exclusively of the Maybach. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

AMG power

As for the AMG 63, the bi-turbo V8 also resumes usage up front, but, in addition to being more powerful, Benz has also upped the outputs of the mild-hybrid EQ Boost system to 16kW/250Nm.

Without this though, the twin-boosted V8 delivers 450kW/850Nm, enough to blast the GLS 63 from 0-100 km/h in the same 4.2 seconds as the Maybach, and on to a limited top speed of 280 km/h.

Opulent facelift Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 uncovered
Rear Seat Entertainment system with three displays can be specified as an option. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Arriving when?

Predominantly once again made at the three-pointed star’s Tuscaloosa Plant in Alabama, the GLS will go on sale in North America from mid-September with markets across Europe receiving it the following month.

It, therefore, means that South Africa will seemingly have to wait until 2024, however, expect Mercedes-Benz South Africa to make an official announcement before then.

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